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The economy of South Sudan has suffered slow progress due to the July 2016 bouts of political insurgency that undermined development gains recorded earlier during relative calm and stability. There is a need for the signing of a peace deal which will assist in resuscitating the economy of the country. South Sudan is the most oil-dependent country in the world (where oil export revenues account for approximately 60 percent of its GDP). However, due to the fragile political state of the country, the subsistence sector has become dominant and livelihoods increasingly rely on low productive, unpaid agriculture and pastoralist work. The rapid inflow of resources towards the country’s biggest resource, the oil sector, coupled with multiplier effects to other sectors including housing, infrastructure and finance, will encourage development initiatives in the country.
The microfinance sector is characterised as young, underdeveloped, and unregulated. The banking industry suffers from limited utilisation of the credit reference bureau due to a low coverage rate and an underdeveloped collateral registry, thereby restricting access to credit facilities. The financial sector has been characterised by high interest spreads of up to 24 percent while most of the lending activity is concentrated in short-term lending, usually between three to 24 months over the entire period of post-independence (2010 and beyond). Medium-term loans of one to five years, at interest rates of between 22 and 24 percent, constitute about four percent of the loans. Loans of over five years constitute the balance (one percent), and they are offered at interest rates of between 18 and 20 percent. Financial institutions have scaled down on housing finance because of rising political tension and increasing credit risk, whereas, some banks have exited the mortgage space altogether.
The supply of housing units in South Sudan has continued to weaken amid periods of political unrest. Over the past two years, the supply of housing units has largely been through the re-introduction of formerly occupied residential units that have since lost tenants due to civil strife. A significant number of residents in major cities in South Sudan continue to reside in temporary structures at a going rate of US$25 a month for a single room. Furthermore, land acquisition, particularly the high cost of land leases, has deterred prospective investors from developing modest housing projects (between 20 and 50 units). The bulk of housing units in South Sudan are low cost, low quality housing structures mainly constructed for the poor and migrant low cost earners -earning below SSP26 052 (US$200).
Overall, the property market is significantly underdeveloped with most residential areas lacking access to electricity, piped water and clear access roads. This makes such areas unattractive to prospective developers due to additional estate running costs of thermal power generation, water pumping and road maintenance. The country has several policies, strategies and regulatory frameworks that espouse practical and feasible measures on how to adequately and sustainably develop the housing industry and housing finance sector but efforts to end conflict take precedence. Additionally, clear plans for longer-term action to boost employment, build infrastructure, and diversify the economy will help create demand for housing units during the post-conflict period of economic recovery.
Find out more information on the housing finance sector of South Sudan, including key stakeholders, important policies and housing affordability:
- Macroeconomic Overview
- Access to Finance
- Housing Supply
- Property Markets
- Policy and Regulation
Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2018 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 54 African countries.Download yearbook